S+ Stimulant: The Voynich Manuscript


The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. Whilst the book has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century, everything about the text is a mystery and it has baffled cryptologists for hundreds of years.

Besides its punctilious script, the book is littered with bizarre, oddly beautiful illustrations. These illustrations depict unidentifiable flora, human organs, and crudely drawn naked figures. Judging by these pictures it is believed that the text is a compendium of knowledge related to the natural world. Styles and subject matters seem to include: Herbal, Astronomical, Biological, Cosmological, Pharmaceutical, and Recipes.

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The book has become an object of fascination for many over the years. During the Middle-Ages, alchemists and mystics dedicated large parts of their lives to the deciphering of the text and, in more recent years, famous code-breakers have attempted to unlock the book’s mystery. Notably, William Friedman – a cryptologist who led the decipherment of the Japanese Code Purple during the Second World War –, dedicated enormous amount of time to deciphering the Voynich. But after efforts spanning three decades, Friedman declared that cracking the manuscript’s code was impossible.

To this day, people continue to attempt to decipher the Voynich. An online community, ranging from amateurs to computer programmers, share theories regarding the mysterious text. However, after 600 years of trying no theory has ever been independently verified.

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

It seems unlikely that the Voynich will ever be decoded, but it continues to tantalize and tempt people with its mystery. Perhaps the book is a hoax, or maybe it is truly indecipherable; either way, it’s tickling to think that with our awesome realms of technology and intuitive genius, we’re still no closer to solving the problem of a 600 year old book.

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, you’ll find the Voynich Manuscript: HERE.

Best place to start? Use your imagination.




Published: October 15th, 2013

Previous in this series:

Pete Yorn & J.D. King: The Olms

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One Comment

  1. Nikolaj wrote:

    To the question about the Voynich manuscript.
    The text is written signs. Signs are used instead of letters of the alphabet one of the ancient languages. Moreover, in the text there are 2 levels of encryption. I found the key with which the first section I could read the following words: hemp, wearing hemp; food, food (sheet 20 at the numbering on the Internet); to clean (gut), knowledge, perhaps the desire, to drink, sweet beverage (nectar), maturation (maturity), to consider, to believe (sheet 107); to drink; six; flourishing; increasing; intense; peas; sweet drink, nectar, etc. Is just the short words, 2-3 sign. To translate words with more than 2-3 characters requires knowledge of this ancient language. The fact that some signs correspond to two letters. Thus, for example, a word consisting of three characters can fit up to six letters of which three. In the end, you need six characters to define the semantic word of three letters. Without knowledge of this language make it very difficult even with a dictionary.
    If you are interested, I am ready to send more detailed information, including scans of pages showing the translated words.

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